Are You Experiencing Sadness, Hopelessness, Moodiness Or Anger On A Regular Basis?

Does your mood swing up and down regularly? Do you tend to emotionally overreact to life situations that others don’t find nearly as intense? Have you found yourself feeling less interested in activities you once enjoyed?  Do you have trouble focusing on tasks or being present with your loved ones? Have you noticed changes in your appetite or sleep patterns?  Perhaps you have aches and pains, such as headaches, back pain, muscle aches or joint pain. It’s also possible that you are experiencing digestive problems that don’t have a clear physical cause. Have you found that you don’t have the energy to keep up with basic daily tasks or responsibilities? Do you wish you could feel happier and more engaged in life?

Depression can be a crippling, debilitating struggle that can cause your personal and professional life to crumble. Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless, joyless and without choices or chances is a desperate way to be. Perhaps you feel this way every winter. Or maybe a certain situation has caused you to feel overwhelmed. You may be experiencing midlife hormones, difficult transitions or unexpected losses. It’s also possible that you can't point to any clear cause. Depression can be very frightening, overwhelming and at times even dangerous. You may cope with depression by engaging in harmful behaviors in an effort to find relief, such as pulling away from others, crawling into bed for extended periods of time or seeking comfort from substances like food, alcohol or drugs, but find they only compound your suffering.

Or maybe, you have a teenager who seems noticeably down and isolated. Have his or her grades at school sharply declined? Do you worry something has happened to your teenager that has made him or her feel sad and hopeless? Has your teen lost interest in activities that once brought him or her joy? Do you wish you could help your teenager break free from the negative emotions that are holding him or her back from a successful future?

You Are Not Alone In Your Struggle With Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental health issues. According to the World Health Organization, nearly one in 10 adults report experiencing depression, and it is the most common cause of disability in the United States. The National Institute for Mental Health estimates that about 10.7 percent of U.S. teens aged 12 to 17 had at least one major depressive episode in 2013.

While depression is a very common experience, often people feel very alone in their distress and some don’t even believe it is a real ailment. Many people have the misconception that depression is just “feeling sad” or “having the blues.” When teenagers experience depression, it is common for parents to believe that their child is going through a phase of teenage angst.

Depression and anxiety often co-occur or co-exist, ultimately leaving the affected individual feeling stressed, hopeless, confused, sad and alone all at once.

The World Health Organization also estimates that nearly two-thirds of depressed people do not get proper treatment because:

  • The symptoms are not recognized as depression.

  • Depressed people are seen as weak or lazy.

  • Social stigma causes people to avoid needed treatment.

  • The symptoms are so disabling that the people affected cannot reach out for help. 

  • Many symptoms are misdiagnosed as physical problems.

  • Individual symptoms are treated, rather than the underlying cause.

Clinical depression is a very common psychological problem. Most people never seek proper treatment, or seek treatment but they are misdiagnosed with physical illness. This is extremely unfortunate because, with proper treatment, nearly 80 percent of individuals with depression can experience significant improvement in their mood, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Both environmental and physiological factors can cause depression. Most mental health experts now agree that brain chemistry plays a major role. Studies have shown that the level of neurotransmitters in the brain can affect a person's risk of becoming depressed. However, life experiences affect brain chemistry, and some people become depressed after experiencing a trauma or stressful life change such as a separation or divorce, the death of a spouse, being laid off from a job, financial instability, relocation or a general decline in health. Everyday stressors like social isolation, domestic violence and the presence of other psychological conditions can also contribute to depression. Sometimes depression arises as a defense mechanism in order to avoid experiencing painful emotions. Women who have recently given birth may struggle with postpartum depression in the days, weeks or months following childbirth.

Find Joy And Meaning In Your Life With Depression Treatment

Regardless of the cause or severity of your depression, there is hope and help. During compassionate, thoughtful and safe depression treatment sessions, we will talk about your primary concerns and any painful problems you may be experiencing. Generally, our sessions will last 45 minutes and we will meet once each week. However, I am open to working with you in longer sessions and/or more than once per week.

In sessions, you and I will work together to uncover and treat the cause of your sadness and help you recognize and confront the traumas, people, suppressed angers and prolonged disappointments that contribute to your suffering. Together, we can explore problematic relationship patterns and examine the ways that you think about yourself and others. You can also begin to recognize what routinely triggers your depression symptoms. We may also assess your lifestyle habits, such as sleep patterns, that may be contributing to your emotional state.

Once we obtain a deeper understanding of how and why you struggle with depression, we will move forward with an individualized plan that can teach you mood management tools and other techniques to help you feel happier and more engaged in life.

Because you may experience anxiety along with depression, I can teach you how to utilize breathing techniques that can help you calm yourself both during and outside of sessions. In addition, together, we will develop resources that are more effective and reliable means to improve your disordered mood in order to foster lifelong change. We will work to understand your vulnerability to depression and  find ways to minimize the intensity and recurrence of your symptoms – all while maximizing your joy and pleasure in life.

If your teenager is suffering from depression, I will tailor his or her sessions to fit his or her needs and interests so he or she can feel engaged in our treatment sessions. If you are interested in being a part of your teen’s healing, we can work together to understand how you can help foster your teen’s growth and emotional well-being.

For more than a decade, I have helped many individuals find relief from painful depression symptoms. My experience extends to a variety of treatment settings – from psychiatric inpatient settings to community mental health centers to the private practice setting, treating individuals with depression, sometimes in combination with other difficulties such as anxiety and substance abuse issues. I also worked at The National Institutes of Mental Health as a clinical researcher with a focus on children and adolescents with severe mood disorders. As a member of the George Washington University Doctoral Psychology Program faculty, I have taught extensively and supervised doctoral-level students on the treatment of depression in children, adolescents and adults.

Don’t let the hopelessness you feel get in the way of living the life that you desire. You can create a well of resilience and find ways to live a fulfilled life. With help, support and the right approach, you can improve your mood, engage in healthy and meaningful relationships and cope with stressors in productive ways.

Perhaps you recognize that you (or your teenager) could benefit from depression treatment sessions, but still have some concerns…

This has been going on for so long. Is it too late to get treatment?

You may have been experiencing overwhelming sadness for such a long period of time that you believe there is no hope for recovery. This is not true. You may not find complete relief overnight, but depression treatment can help alleviate a substantial amount of the stress, sadness and hopelessness that is associated with depression.

Depression runs in my family. How can depression treatment help me?

Research suggests that some people may be biologically predisposed to depression due to neurochemical abnormalities. A family history of depression can lead to a person to inheriting or learning these traits.

Both family history and life experiences can contribute to brain changes and the resulting feelings of sadness and hopelessness. In both cases, depression treatment has been shown to create changes in neurotransmitter levels – ultimately helping individuals recover from depression. Thus, psychotherapy for depression actually creates changes in the brain, similar to medication treatment, but without the challenging side effects.

I’m worried that people will judge me if they know I am seeking help.

Do not listen to the fears in your head that tell you that you are somehow “abnormal.” Mental health issues are far more common than you realize – it’s just that many people do not often talk openly about their struggles. Your choice to seek treatment is a confidential one. If you do choose to tell your close loved ones that you have made the decision to seek treatment, it’s very likely that they will admire your courage and provide you with support.

Start Living A Happier And More Peaceful Life

If you believe you may be one of the 20 million people suffering from depression, I may be able to help. Please call me today at 202-340-3612 or send me an email at to discuss your needs and learn more about how depression treatment can help you. My office is conveniently located in downtown Bethesda, Maryland. I am easily accessible from I-495 and I-270, as well as from the Bethesda Metro.